Older folk fo­cus of men­tal health

Guardian Express - - NEWS - Jes­sica War­riner

MORE than $22 mil­lion in fund­ing has been con­sol­i­dated to help older adults ac­cess men­tal health ser­vices in Perth.

Deputy Pre­mier and Men­tal Health Min­is­ter Roger Cook made the an­nounce­ment last Thurs­day at St John of God Mt Law­ley Hos­pi­tal.

The fund­ing will sup­port the hos­pi­tal’s 12 bed Ur­sula Frayne unit, which takes pub­lic pa­tients.

The unit helps older adults learn how to man­age symp­toms with the aim of in­creased un­der­stand­ing about how life­style fac­tors af­fect mood, men­tal health and re­duce the risk of re­lapse.

“We’ve funded the Ur­sula Frayne unit for some time but there’s been dif­fer­ent agen­cies in­volved – the Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion has con­sol­i­dated that fund­ing,” Mr Cook said.

He said the ad­di­tions of more ac­cess to con­sul­tants, stronger links to psy­chi­a­try ser­vices at St John of God Mid­land Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal and in­creased ad­mis­sion hours were im­por­tant en­hance­ments to the con­tract.

“With be­tween 10 to 15 per cent of older adults suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion and 10 per cent from anx­i­ety, we need a va­ri­ety of ways to ad­dress a va­ri­ety of needs,” Mr Cook said.

“This ser­vice is one way we can help them con­tinue to en­joy pro­duc­tive lives.”

St John of God act­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Vanessa Unwin said the con­sol­i­dated ser­vices would help ease the tran­si­tion of pa­tients back into the com­mu­nity.

“It will help us re­ally own the unit and en­ables us to grow where we need it,” she said.

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